Pennsylvania has something to be proud of, considering it has become a fast-growing natural gas-producing state. But the strong showing has not propelled it to the top. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released information in December 2013 showing Pennsylvania climbed four spots, positioning itself at No. 3, as gas production skyrocketed 72% between 2011 and 2012. Trailing Texas and Louisiana, respectively, output from the northeastern state passed the 57 Bcm (2 Tcf) per year mark in 2012. And if predictions based on preliminary data such as drilling productivity reports hold true, Pennsylvania could surpass Louisiana. Tight gas development led the increase. “Pennsylvania also saw the largest volume and percentage increases in marketed gas. West Virginia, which is also located in the Marcellus shale play, joined the ranks of the top 10 largest US producers for the first time in 2012, producing 4 Bcm [146 Bcf] of additional marketed gas compared with the 2011 level,” the EIA said. “Production in the Marcellus region has grown so substantially that spot prices in the Northeast may continue to drop further below the Henry Hub spot price in the future.” West Virginia was the second fastest mover, with a 38% change, although gas production from the state pales in comparison overall. Less than 28 Bcm (1 Tcf) of gas were produced annually in West Virginia in 2012. Maintaining its position at the top of the list was Texas, home of the Eagle Ford shale play, with production inching closer to the 226 Bcm (8 Tcf) per year mark. Here, gas production saw a 5% growth. But continued growth could be in store for the nation’s biggest gas producer. The biggest loser was the federal offshore area. Production in the area, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and offshore California, dropped 17% from 2011 to 2012. The EIA said production from these two areas has generally declined since the early 2000s. Perhaps, the year 2014 will bring a comeback in federal offshore waters. “US onshore natural gas production is expected to continue increasing over the next two years, with strong output growth in the Marcellus shale offsetting production declines in the [GoM],” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said Tuesday. “Overall US natural gas production is expected to grow 2.1% this year and 1.3% in 2015.” His comments came after the release of the January 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook, which showed natural gas working inventories as of Dec. 27 totaled 84 Bcm (2.97 Tcf), 16 Bcm (0.56 Tcf) below the level at the same time a year ago and 8.2 Bcm (0.29 Tcf) below the previous five-year average (2008 to 2012), according to the outlook. “Following a cold December and several large weekly withdrawals of stored natural gas, EIA is revising downward its estimate of the amount of US natural gas held in storage at the end of the winter heating season by more than [5.6 Bcm] 200 Bcf,” Sieminski said. “EIA now expects inventories will total about [42 Bcm] 1.5 Tcf at the end of this March.” Contact the author, Velda Addison, at